After over a month of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 15.5 RC to developers and public beta users. This suggests that the updates could be released to the public as soon as sometime next week. Head below for the full release notes…
iOS 15.5 new features
Apple says that iOS 15.5 makes enhancements to Apple Cash, with support for more easily requesting and sending money from the Apple Cash card in the Wallet app. There’s also a new feature in Apple Podcasts to help preserve your iPhone’s storage space and some bug fixes for HomeKit.
Here are the full release notes for iOS 15.5 according to Apple:
iOS 15.5 includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
- Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
- Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
- Fixes an issue where home automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail
As a reminder, the “Release Candidate” name usually indicates that this will be the final beta of iOS 15.5 before it’s released to everyone. This is why Apple also concurrently publishes the full release notes of the update.
Here are some other changes in iOS 15.5 we’ve spotted so far, not mentioned in Apple’s release notes:
- iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature [Video]
- iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases
- iOS 15.5 hints at Bancomat and Bancontact on Apple Pay
- Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
- iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature
Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 beta to developers, and it’s likely that the public beta release isn’t far behind. While not packed with new features and changes like iOS 15.4, this latest beta release comes with a modest amount of updates and enhancements.
What’s new in iOS 15.5 beta 1?
- New Request and Send buttons for Apple Cash in Wallet app.
- Physical Apple Card now called ‘Titanium Card’ in Wallet settings.
- Apple Pay has been rebranded as ‘Apple Cash’ Messages app.
- Rebrand of iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app.
- New Wi-Fi signal bars for HomePod connectivity in Home app.
- Home app now features a permissions notification for Critical Alerts.
- Universal Control on iPadOS 15.5 requires all devices to be updated to latest betas.
Video: iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features
iOS 15.5 is largely focused on Wallet app-related enhancements and changes, so there are no huge standout user-facing features to be found here. However, having Wi-Fi signal strength indicators within the Home app for HomePods is a nice improvement. This change could make it easier to decide on how best to arrange a physical network and corresponding HomePod devices scattered around a home. It can also help with troubleshooting HomePods that aren’t properly connecting to the network.
Even if your HomePod is running 15.4, and not the latest 15.5 beta, you can still see the Wi-Fi signal strength within the Home app. Previously, the Wi-Fi network section of the HomePod preferences only showed the SSID. For HomePods in a stereo pair, you’ll have to venture into the Speakers panel to access the settings for each individual HomePod. If there are any connectivity issues, that will be reflected by an exclamation point on the Wi-Fi signal indicator, as shown below.
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases to satisfy regulators, code confirms
Apple was recently required to let developers redirect users to third-party payment platforms instead of using the App Store’s in-app purchases system.
The latest beta version of Apple’s operating system has full support for the new entitlement used by apps to indicate that they let users make external purchases. For instance, if the user deletes an app that offers external purchases, iOS will show an alert saying that it is not possible to manage purchases and subscriptions through the App Store.
While the App Store lets users manage all their purchases in a single place, Apple has no control over what users buy outside of its platform – so it’s important to have a reminder to users.
External purchases from [app’s name] may still exist. You cannot manage or cancel any external purchases through the App Store. For more information, contact the developer.
Apple is implementing another alert that will show up when the user opens an app that offers external purchases for the first time. However, it’s worth noting that this feature won’t be available for every app.
The App Store guidelines make it clear that “External Link Account Entitlement” is only available for “Reader apps,” which are apps that offer digital content such as magazines, books, songs, or video. Another requirement is that the app can’t offer in-app purchases using Apple’s platform. Still, each request must be approved by Apple.
In the Netherlands, dating apps can continue to use Apple’s in-app purchases system along with a third-party payment system or an external link due to a requirement from the Dutch regulator.
iOS 15.5 beta 2 hints at Apple Pay support for Bancomat and Bancontact networks
Apple released the second beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t bring any significant new features, it does hint at some changes Apple has been working on under the hood.
For those unfamiliar, Bancomat (an Italian company) and Bancontact (from Belgium) are interbank networks similar to Mastercard and Visa. Right now, cards issued by these networks are not compatible with Apple Pay, but it seems that this is about to change.
Internal codes from iOS 15.5 beta 2 reveal that Apple is working with both networks to make their cards compatible with Apple Pay, which is Apple’s digital payments platform. It’s unclear when exactly support for these cards will be announced to the public, but we assume it will happen sometime after the release of iOS 15.5.
Apple is also working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card.” This card will be shown in the Wallet app with the balance on the user’s Apple ID, and it can be used for purchases in the Apple Store, App Store, and app subscriptions.
With today’s beta, more code related to the Apple Account Card has been added to the system, which corroborates that this feature will also be introduced soon.
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
Apple has just released the first beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while we’re still looking for what’s new in today’s update, Apple has been working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app with iOS 15.5.
If you buy an Apple Gift Card or add money to your Apple ID, the balance can be used to buy products in the Apple Store as well as apps, songs, movies, and subscriptions.
Currently, users can check this balance by going to the App Store or by adding the iTunes Pass to the Wallet app. At the same time, this pass has a QR Code that can be used to purchase products in Apple Retail Stores. With iOS 15.5, Apple is finally revamping the iTunes Pass.
iTunes Pass will become a new card called “Apple Account.” This card will be displayed in the Wallet app just like the Apple Card and the Apple Cash card. This way, instead of having to show the QR Code when shopping at an Apple Store, the user will be able to complete the purchase using Apple Pay.
Your account balance can be used to buy products, accessories, apps, games and more online or in store with Apple Pay.
Interestingly, the Apple Account card will have a parallax effect in the Wallet app, just like the Apple Card and Apple Cash card. The feature is currently disabled even for beta users, but it will likely be officially announced with the public release of iOS 15.5.
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
Apple released the third beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t seem to have any significant changes, Apple has made an interesting tweak to its native Photos app. The system will now block “Sensitive Locations” for Memories in the Photos app.
For those unfamiliar, Memories is a feature of the Photos app on iOS and macOS that recognizes people, places, and events in your photo library to automatically create “curated collections” with a slideshow. Since this feature is entirely based on machine learning, Apple has now made some changes to the app to avoid creating some unwanted memories.
The Photos app now has a list of “Sensitive Locations,” so that any photos taken there will never be added to a memory. Interestingly, all the places banned in this version are related to the Holocaust.
Here’s the list of places that are blocked from the Memories feature in the Photos app with iOS 15.5 beta 3:
- Yad Vashem Memorial
- Dachau concentration camp
- US Holocaust Museum
- Majdanek concentration camp
- Berlin Holocaust Memorial
- Schindler Factory
- Belzec extermination camp
- Anne Frank House
- Sobibor extermination camp
- Treblinka extermination camp
- Chelmno-Kulmhof extermination camp
- Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp
Each location has latitude, longitude, and radius assigned, so that the Photos app will ignore images taken at these locations when creating new memories. Of course, Apple can update this list with new places with future iOS updates.
iOS 15.5 beta also brings changes to the Wallet app and reveals upcoming changes to Apple Pay.